Worcestershire get a taste of the future as they experience life without Tom Moody at the helm for the first time in more than four years at Chelmsford today.
The Pears go into the County Championship Division Two match against Essex without their illustrious leader who was last night interviewed in Delhi for the vacant role as coach of India.
Moody is up against fellow Australian Greg Chappell, former West Indies opener Desmond Haynes and former Indian Test all- rounder Mohinder Amarnath.
Moody and Chappell were reported to be leaving Delhi early today to meet the Sri Lankan board in Colombo - but Worcestershire's director of cricket is considered favourite for the India post.
It is, therefore, becoming increasingly obvious that Worcestershire will have a new coach next summer - if not sooner. Although the county went to great pains to insist that this was not, in fact, the case at the time, it has become clear that Steve Rhodes was earmarked for high office once he was taken on to the coaching staff when his playing days ended last summer.
Today's match will give Rhodes a foretaste of what is to come as he takes charge for the first time - albeit on a temporary basis until Moody returns to link up with the squad some time tomorrow.
After Worcestershire's second Championship victory of the season, over Derbyshire last week, Rhodes and skipper Vikram Solanki can be expected to name the same team today. Zimbabwean spinner Ray Price has pressed for a first Championship start this summer after bowling well in last Sunday's totesport League win over Nottinghamshire and in defeat against Yorkshire in Tuesday's Cheltenham & Gloucester Trophy second- round exit at Headingley.
But, to accommodate Price, one of the four seamers would have to be left out or perhaps the batting would have to be rejigged.
The only candidate for the chop in that instance would be popular opener Stephen Peters. Since scoring three centuries in four innings last June, Peters has passed 50 only twice in Championship innings.
The one thing that ought to save him is that he is up against his old county. In the three summers since he has been at New Road, he has not yet returned to Chelmsford for a Championship match.
Meanwhile, one-day specialist David Leatherdale is expected to be out for a month with the Achilles tendon tear he suffered in the win over Nottinghamshire.
Essex have four players changes, with Alastair Cook, Tony Palladino and Ashley Cowan back in contention, while 17-year-old academy player Mervyn Westfield may make his debut.
Grant Flower and Tim Phillips make way while Andre Adams (shoulder), Graham Napier (bruised heel) and Andy Clarke (ankle) are absent.
WORCESTERSHIRE (from): V S Solanki (capt), S D Peters, S C Moore, G A Hick, B F Smith, Z De Bruyn, G J Batty, W P U J C Vaas, D J Pipe (wkt), Kabir Ali, M S Mason, R W Price.